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Frisco: A Globetrotting 911T

Naming a car is funny business. Should you humanize your car by making it sound like an old friend? Should you make it sound like a pet? I’ve always given my cars vaguely absurd (and sometimes insulting) names, though that strategy is not for everyone. Andre Bezuidenhout is the first person I’ve heard of naming their car for a cheap cup of coffee. Frisco, a Sanka-like instant coffee from South Africa, lends its name to Andre’s 911T. This former-racecar, former-2.7RS-clone, now-touring car owes its name to Andre’s mother reminding him to stay humble.

Andre first encountered this 911 in the early 1990s, when he used the modest 911T for club racing. The Petrolicious film shows a young Andre on-track at Kyalami in the car. Then just a white track car, it is rather overshadowed by its on-track company. The 911 is shown sharing the course with everything from sports prototypes to Formula Fords. It’s a rather terrifying mix of machinery to be out on track at once, falling somewhere between an open session at Gridlife and a Historics event.

Following an off-track excursion that reportedly bent the car rather severely, Andre and the 911 parted ways. When he encountered the car again several years ago, now as a 2.7RS clone, Andre knew he had found his old car due to a distinctive click while opening the door.

More than twenty years after first purchasing the car, Andre found himself once again the owner of the T. Now repaired, refinished in a bespoke shade of green, and powered by a carbureted 2.7-liter flat-six, this 911 is not only ready to cross continents, it’s already en route.

As profiled by Petrolicious this retired racer’s retirement we should all envy. With its slightly-incongruous combination of roll-bar and roof-rack, this Ts passport stamps would probably make the most avowed jet-setter envious. From South Africa, to New Zealand, to Australia, and on to Japan later this year, this distinctive 911T is bringing just a bit of Andre’s mother’s sensibilities to all areas of the globe.


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A Deep Dive in to Porsche Communication Management

Back in 2001, BMW simultaneously showed the world the burgeoning capabilities and the pitfalls of modern infotainment with its iDrive system. In the intervening years, not all manufacturers have learned from BMW’s example, and not all infotainment is created equal. Cadillac’s CUE has been criticized for clunky operation. Ford SYNC covers the spectrum from near-useless to rather excellent, depending on model. Volkswagen’s current Car-Net is generally very good, but builds upon many years of trial and error. Porsche Communcation Management (PCM), may be the current industry leader in terms of ease of use and configurability. Even as featured in the base 3.0-liter V6 Panamera, the Porsche system shows a driver-oriented approach to system integration.

Driver-Oriented Infotainment

Infotainment systems that try to do too much can often over-burden the driver. A confluence of menus with a wide array of options doesn’t make life easier, it only serves to distract the driver from their primary job. Porsche’s system allows a deep level of configurability, allowing drivers to prioritize what the infotainment screen shows them. If navigation is more important to you than your media choices, then navigation can be given a more prominent place on the foot-long screen.

The system also controls many car functions, including not only chassis settings, but also climate control. Though not shown in the video, the system acts as the primary control for heating and cooling, in addition to controlling the configurable center vent.

PCM works in conjunction with the latest generation of Porsche Advanced Cockpit. The PAC replaces most of the car’s analog instrumentation, leaving just the centrally-positioned tachometer. The tachometer is flanked by a pair of 7″ screens, which are also configurable per user preferences. In addition to functioning as gauges, these screens can move critical information directly into the driver’s line of sight. A similar, though more limited, Advanced Cockpit has been available in the 991 for several years.

Though my preferences in in-car entertainment generally goes no further than a working radio, I appreciate Porsche’s approach. PCM’s integration of functionality, and emphasis on ease of use is an important compromise between what today’s consumers want, and simply driving.


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Here Are The Most Expensive Porsches Ever Sold

Porsche’s fan favorite video series « Top 5 » is back for another season, and this time they’re tackling some truly interesting lists. To open the season, Porsche is focusing on the cars that made the brand famous, the ones with incredible pedigree and rarity, the ones that people spent gobs of money to buy at auction. Here is the list of the top five most expensive Porsches ever sold. How this list was made, I’m not entirely sure, as I know I’ve seen some Porsche cars sell for between the 3 and 5 million dollar range that are not listed here.

1. Porsche 917/30 Chassis #004 – $3,000,000

2. Porsche 550A Spyder Chassis #14S – $5,170,000

3. Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion Chassis WP0ZZ99ZWS396005 – $5,665,000

4. Porsche 956 Chassis #003 – $10,120,000

5. Porsche Gulf-Wyer 917K Chassis #024 – $14,080,000

If you want an explanation of why each of these cars is worth as much as they sold for, click the play button above and enjoy the smooth lilt of Ted Gushue’s voice describing exactly thus. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s Top Five Fastest Porsches of All Time video, despite already knowing the answers.


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24 Variations on a Theme: Picking the Right 911 Derivative

Ford currently produces eleven Mustang derivatives, and Chevrolet makes eight Corvette variants(both of these figures include the coupe and convertible variations of the same trim separately). That’s a lot of choices from a nation known for customizing and individualization. Where variations on a theme are concerned, the Americans cannot be considered in the same breath as Porsche. There are twenty four 911 derivatives currently on sale, and the range of choices is staggering. Two-wheel drive or four? Hardtop, full convertible, or Targa? Even power output nearly doubles from the least to most powerful model in the lineup. Thankfully, Porsche understands that the full 911 lineup can be confusing, and sums it up neatly in under five minutes.

For buyers, some choices are driven by budget. Not every prospective Porsche buyer can put $293k on the masthead for a GT2 RS, nor should they. As the video shows, not every Porsche model is made for the same purpose. A buyer looking for a usable, everyday sports car should probably stay away from the GT range’s glorious odes to speed at all costs. At the same time, buyers who spend every possible moment at the track will not be as well served by a Carrera S as one of the more focused 911 variants.

Picking a 911

Let’s run through the 991.2 decision making process. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s call our hypothetical buyer Andrew. For the sake of not making up a purely theoretical person with absurd needs that cause them to daily drive a GT3 RS in Saskatchewan, I’m going to base this person on my dad. He has has been considering buying a 911 or a Cayman for some time, and his current daily driver is a Golf GTI Autobahn.

Andrew lives in the Northeast, and has an uncanny ability to find studded snow tires in sizes heretofore unknown to mere mortals. He has also been known to have winter and summer brake setups to work around winter wheel clearance issues. To my knowledge he’s never owned a car or truck with four-wheel drive, despite living deep in the land of ice and snow. He’s not a big fan of convertibles.

He has also been racing motorcycles for more than thirty years, and when he goes to a track, he prefers two wheels to four. His preference is for simplicity and usability. He’s a long time hot-hatch fan because of the high smiles-per-dollar ratio, and (until recently) the segment’s lack of driver aids. Ultimate output is not important, but grip and driver-involvement are.

So, in this case we can pretty safely remove the all-wheel drive variants, bringing the total number of choices from 24 to 12. Given his preference for spending track time on two wheels, the GT models can be ruled out as well, removing another three choices. Of the remaining eleven 911s, five are convertibles and can be eliminated. This leaves the Carrera, Carrera S, Carrera T, and Carrera GTS. Based on his disdain for complexity, and attitude of driver involvement before other concerns, the Carrera T then becomes the most logical choice.


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Return To Rennsport With 9:11 Magazine

It’s difficult to tell a compelling story in just a few minutes, but Porsche manages to make that happen with every new issue of the video magazine 9:11. It’s always limited to nine minutes and eleven seconds, making the stories hot and fast. This episode focuses in on Rennsport Reunion, and it is an incredibly awesome series of vignettes. If you’re looking for a good way to spend your next ten minutes, click the play button and get ready for a good time.

The series of videos opens with a retro-look at Rod Emory and his shop as they prepare for Rod’s return to racing at Rennsport Reunion VI. Rod was racing professionally as recently as ten years ago, but has kept focus on building cars for his clients since then. It’s been an interesting experience for him to get back behind the wheel racing in anger. Two cars in one weekend that could not be any different, Rod drives a four-cylinder Elva and a big-turbo 935.

Speaking of 935s, Porsche unveiled a new one, as I’m sure you know. The new GT2 RS-based track monster is ready for battle, and made its surprise debut at Rennsport Reunion. In this video Porsche is eager to show off its curves and the language behind its design in gorgeous snippets.

The most interesting segment, to me, involves Walter Rohrl and a 911 SC rally car. First used in-period for the San Remo event, Walter busted a drive axle and didn’t finish. Porsche restored the car after sitting stagnant for decades, and returned Walter to vintage rally with the SC. Where it busted a drive axle. History repeats itself.

Watch, and enjoy.


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